Discussion:
Moscow 1941
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y***@hotmail.com
2005-08-17 16:10:46 UTC
Permalink
In the thread about "Allied Victory" it was stated that
if Hitler had begun Operation Barbarossa in May 1941
instead of a month later as actually occurred, the
Germans would have gotten to Moscow and this could
have decisively the outcome of the war in the East.
I was under the impression that Hitler was not
so keen on making the capture of Moscow the highest priority.
There is the well known case where he diverted the
panzer forces at the height of the drive in the central
sector to the south saying that the economic importance
of the Ukraine made it a higher priority than Moscow.
Those who supported continuing the drive on Moscow
at that point claimed that Moscow was important because
it was the capital, the center of much industry and
that important road and rail lines converged there.
Thus, its loss would make it harder for the Soviets
to shift forces from north of the capital to the
south and vice-versa.
I have heard speculation that Hitler was afraid
to attack Moscow because of the "Napoleon precedent",
but that after the Ukraine had been captured, he
changed his mind and decided to capture Moscow
in the ulimately futile "Operation Typhoon".
Opinions?
--
Pierre Hallet
2005-08-17 20:44:30 UTC
Permalink
Post by y***@hotmail.com
In the thread about "Allied Victory" it was stated that
if Hitler had begun Operation Barbarossa in May 1941
instead of a month later as actually occurred, the
Germans would have gotten to Moscow and this could
have decisively the outcome of the war in the East.
I liked very much David Dowding's "Moscow Option",
an alternative WWII where Hitler falls in a temporary
coma after an air crash, just in time to prevent him
from interfering with his generals, who take Moscow
*and* Ukraine *and* Leningrad (also, the Japanese
learn that the Americans are informed about Midway,
change their plans and sink all American carriers
on the spot). But Germany and Japan are decisively
stopped in August-September 1942, because of various
healthy military reasons. I said I liked that book,
but that's not true, I love it. I've re-read it twenty
times.

Pierre Hallet (Brussels)
--
Bill Martin
2005-08-17 20:44:43 UTC
Permalink
Moscow had already been pretty well stripped of anything significant in
anticipation of its capture. Industry had been hauled east and
reestablished.

Its significance as a road/rail net is another issue and its capture likely
would have created problems for the Soviets but the Germans would still have
a logistics tail that would be very exposed so defense would have been
precarious.

And a month earlier may have put them in, versus outside, Moscow but that
winter would still arrive and the Soviets were more successful operating in
winter conditions than were the Germans so I think the outcome would have
been a surrender of the starving and supply depleted capturing army,
assuming the Soviets were patient, or a defeat in detail if the Soviets
chose to do the Stalingrad thing and attack, thus destroy, the city.

The symbolism of Moscow (Napoleon, capitol, etc... ) would have been subject
to spin by both sides any way it went.. victory or defeat. Many countries,
certainly including the US, have used major defeats as positive war cries
(Alamo, Pearl harbor, 9/11).

Given that assets are always more limited than opportunities, especially in
such a vast arena, the play south was much the smarter strategic move.

Bill Martin

--
Louis Capdeboscq
2005-08-21 04:00:18 UTC
Permalink
Post by Bill Martin
Moscow had already been pretty well stripped of anything significant in
anticipation of its capture. Industry had been hauled east and
reestablished.
Rather the opposite, the Soviet transport network was overloaded with
all the industrial and personnel evacuation going on, so the bulk of the
Moscow industrial area wasn't evacuated in 1941, there was no more
capacity to be had.

Some was evacuated later.
Post by Bill Martin
Its significance as a road/rail net is another issue and its capture likely
would have created problems for the Soviets but the Germans would still have
a logistics tail that would be very exposed so defense would have been
precarious.
If the Germans are in Moscow, they don't really need to worry about
defending their lines of communications: defending them from what, exactly ?

On the other hand, logistics is the factor usually ignored by those
people who keep asserting that "of course, the Germans could have
captured Moscow if they had only tried". This ignores the parlous
logistical state of the German attackers in the historical scenario,
despite the fact that the delay before launching Typhoon served to
improve the logistical network to Smolensk.


LC
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Michael Emrys
2005-08-17 20:44:55 UTC
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Post by y***@hotmail.com
Opinions?
I think Hitler's first priority was to destroy the Soviet army in the field.
Everything was subordinate to that because once done, the capture of the
geographical objectives would be merely a matter of mopping up and
occupying. It was to this end that Panzer Group Guderian was sent south to
form the Kiev pocket and make the biggest haul of troops and matériel of the
campaign.

Michael
--
Lazimodo
2005-08-18 16:39:25 UTC
Permalink
| > Opinions?
|
| I think Hitler's first priority was to destroy the Soviet army in the field.
| Everything was subordinate to that because once done, the capture of the
| geographical objectives would be merely a matter of mopping up and
| occupying. It was to this end that Panzer Group Guderian was sent south to
| form the Kiev pocket and make the biggest haul of troops and matériel of the
| campaign.

The objective of Barbarossa, for Hitler, was to reach the Arkhangelsk^ÖVolga river line
thereby capturing half the heartland of Mother Russia, west of the Ural Mountains...All
in five weeks. Impossible to do I would argue, even if they met no resistance. The
German General Staff knew it would take 6 weeks in summer, to resupply the advancing
front, even without guerilla attacks.

They underestimated by half the size of the static red army defenses and the cold konked
out all their weapons except for grenades. By the time they reached the outskirts of
Moscow they were spent while the Russians were by then, deployed in depth, well supplied
and dug in. Moscow was safe.

They also underestimated the Russian ability to constitute and re-constitute forces in a
coherent manner. The initial Russian deployment was static, very long and narrow. Armour
overan the lines then had to wait for support.

Critical manufacturing cities on the banks of the Volga such as Volgograd and Nizhny
Novgorod were more the objective, than Moscow. Hydroelectric power stations and several
large artificial lakes formed by dams lie along the Volga. The the Rybinsk, Nizhny
Novgorod, Samara, and Volgograd reservoirs provided the power for Russia's vast
industry.
--
r***@pdq.net
2005-08-18 20:26:10 UTC
Permalink
Post by Lazimodo
| > Opinions?
|
| I think Hitler's first priority was to destroy the Soviet army in the field.
| Everything was subordinate to that because once done, the capture of the
| geographical objectives would be merely a matter of mopping up and
| occupying. It was to this end that Panzer Group Guderian was sent south to
| form the Kiev pocket and make the biggest haul of troops and matériel of the
| campaign.
The objective of Barbarossa, for Hitler, was to reach the Arkhangelsk^ÖVolga river line
thereby capturing half the heartland of Mother Russia, west of the Ural Mountains...All
in five weeks. Impossible to do I would argue, even if they met no resistance. The
German General Staff knew it would take 6 weeks in summer, to resupply the advancing
front, even without guerilla attacks.
They underestimated by half the size of the static red army defenses and the cold konked
out all their weapons except for grenades. By the time they reached the outskirts of
Moscow they were spent while the Russians were by then, deployed in depth, well supplied
and dug in. Moscow was safe.
They also underestimated the Russian ability to constitute and re-constitute forces in a
coherent manner. The initial Russian deployment was static, very long and narrow. Armour
overan the lines then had to wait for support.
I have read in some places, and read between the lines in others,
that German plans for quickly defeating the USSR relied on the enemy
suffering a collapse of morale and cohesion; "Kick in the door and the
whole rotten structure will collapse" and so on.
From this point of view, the diversion of effort to the Ukraine in
the first summer of the offensive was both a burst of pragmatic
economic strategy and a tacit admission , or maybe a hedging of the
bet, that a quick collapse might not be in easy reach after all. Then
what? The implications were perhaps too awful for them to think thru,
out loud. For one thing, they would had to of admitted to the flawed
assumptions behind the initial strategy, which would of made someone
sound very dumb - not good for an infallible leader.
Unfortunately for Germany, I think the real driving force behind
the whole adventure was that Russia and other lands to the east was
full of people AH hated and he wanted to attack them no matter what.
The amazing thing is that the German General Staff had been degraded
and politicized to the point that no one could raise inconvenient
questions about the bad relationship between means and ends for such a
campaign.
Post by Lazimodo
Critical manufacturing cities on the banks of the Volga such as Volgograd and Nizhny
Novgorod were more the objective, than Moscow. Hydroelectric power stations and several
large artificial lakes formed by dams lie along the Volga. The the Rybinsk, Nizhny
Novgorod, Samara, and Volgograd reservoirs provided the power for Russia's vast
industry.
--
--
Michael Emrys
2005-08-19 16:05:30 UTC
Permalink
The amazing thing is that the German General Staff had been degraded and
politicized to the point that no one could raise inconvenient questions about
the bad relationship between means and ends for such a campaign.
Perhaps not so amazing when you consider the depth of ignorance about the
Red Army and the USSR in general at the time. After the near-defeat the
Finns almost handed them in 1939-40, they weren't looking so good. Stalin
had earlier executed almost all the generals that had operational ideas that
were both innovative and sound. It may well have looked like the Soviets
couldn't fight their way out of a wet paper bag faced with an army like the
Wehrmacht. After all, they had just the year before dealt with what was
supposed to be the most powerful army in the world in six short weeks.

The Germans were unaware of the profundity of the military reforms underway
or how far they had proceeded. Such technical advances as the T-34 and KV-1
were unknown and unsuspected. The USSR was a closed society and it kept its
secrets well.

While certainly unwise, German complacency at the prospect of war with the
USSR should not be surprising.

Michael
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Louis Capdeboscq
2005-08-21 04:00:16 UTC
Permalink
Post by Michael Emrys
It was to this end that Panzer Group Guderian was sent south to
form the Kiev pocket and make the biggest haul of troops and matériel of the
campaign.
Yes and no, by then Hitler wanted the Ukrainian resources which were one
of the goals of the whole operation and without which it was believed at
the time that the German economy risked collapse.

Regarding the biggest haul of troops of the campaign, the Briansk &
Viazma pockets at the beginning of Typhoon were of similar size, weren't
they ?


LC
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stuart
2005-08-19 21:00:34 UTC
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Post by y***@hotmail.com
In the thread about "Allied Victory" it was stated that
if Hitler had begun Operation Barbarossa in May 1941
instead of a month later as actually occurred, the
Germans would have gotten to Moscow
Had Hitler begun Barbarossa in May, he would have been missing out on a
good many trucks and other materiel that arrived from France in
mid-June, and would have launched the Wehrmacht into a sea of mud,
crossed by Rasputitsa-swollen rivers.

I don't think this would have gone all that well.
Post by y***@hotmail.com
and this could
have decisively the outcome of the war in the East.
Historically, by the time the Germans approached Moscow, the were down
to infantry company strengths of 50-60, reflecting ~75% infantry
losses. City fighting is a somewhat infantry-intensive activity, so
having that little infantry left to do it makes success doubtful.

Stuart Wilkes
--
BernardZ
2005-08-21 04:00:35 UTC
Permalink
In article <de5h9i$78i$***@gnus01.u.washington.edu>, ***@my-deja.com
says...
Post by stuart
Post by y***@hotmail.com
and this could
have decisively the outcome of the war in the East.
Historically, by the time the Germans approached Moscow, the were down
to infantry company strengths of 50-60, reflecting ~75% infantry
losses. City fighting is a somewhat infantry-intensive activity, so
having that little infantry left to do it makes success doubtful.
The German plan was to surround Moscow and cut it off. Then wait till
the city collapsed. Generally this sort of plan worked against Russian
cities although in one notable case in Leningrad it failed.
--
Ask yourself, what would God think of your ideals, religion and beliefs?

Observations of Bernard - No 83
--
stuart
2005-08-22 03:21:28 UTC
Permalink
Post by BernardZ
says...
<snip>
Post by BernardZ
The German plan was to surround Moscow and cut it off.
As if this plan would have worked any better, LOL.

You see, it would require infantry to seal the encirclement, and it
would require infantry to prevent the RKKA relieving the city. And
infantry was what the Germans were just about out of by November 1941.
Post by BernardZ
Then wait till the city collapsed.
I think a German collapse would have been far more likely, if the
Germans had tried to surround Moscow. They didn't have the infantry
strength to do the job, and they were facing logistical collapse.

Stuart Wilkes
--
bernardz
2005-08-22 19:28:54 UTC
Permalink
Post by stuart
Post by BernardZ
says...
<snip>
Post by BernardZ
The German plan was to surround Moscow and cut it off.
As if this plan would have worked any better, LOL.
You see, it would require infantry to seal the encirclement, and it
would require infantry to prevent the RKKA relieving the city. And
infantry was what the Germans were just about out of by November 1941.
Post by BernardZ
Then wait till the city collapsed.
I think a German collapse would have been far more likely, if the
Germans had tried to surround Moscow. They didn't have the infantry
strength to do the job, and they were facing logistical collapse.
Stuart Wilkes
I agree with you Stuart for November 1941 by which stages the German
troops barely had enough to make it to Moscow much less surround
Moscow.

However if the German attack to cut off Moscow had proceeded say in mid
July or early August, it get more difficult to determine the outcome.
It would be very risky such an operation as the Germans would leave
their flanks very weak with little reserves. Once cut off wait for
Moscow to collapse. Logistically such an attack should be possible as
it would be less then the assault on Kiev that took place then.

Of course it could be argued that like Leningrad, Moscow might have
held. If so the Russians moving to defend Moscow would have had little
trouble is getting supplies as Moscow was a major railway hub. Whereas
Hitler's armies would be struggling to get supplied on made up roads.
The German army might then have been in the open in the middle of the
Russian Winter. With the Russian army in Kiev attacking the German
flanks and a Russian counter attacks around Moscow in that the German
army could have suffered a greater defeat then they did.

Who knows?
Post by stuart
--
--
stuart
2005-08-23 05:32:23 UTC
Permalink
bernardz wrote:

<snip>
Post by bernardz
However if the German attack to cut off Moscow had proceeded say in mid
July or early August,
But the Germans weren't in any logistical condition to attack and cut
off Moscow in July or early August, despite Stolfi's ravings on the
subject. Nor was the infantry of Army Group Center. Both were on the
verge of exhaustion by then.

Stuart Wilkes
--
bernardz
2005-08-23 17:49:20 UTC
Permalink
Post by stuart
<snip>
Post by bernardz
However if the German attack to cut off Moscow had proceeded say in mid
July or early August,
But the Germans weren't in any logistical condition to attack and cut
off Moscow in July or early August, despite Stolfi's ravings on the
subject. Nor was the infantry of Army Group Center. Both were on the
verge of exhaustion by then.
I don't see this army on the verge of exhaustion!

Supplies were a problem and yes the German center were temporarily
halted to allow infantry and supplies to catch up to the Panzer armies.
However soon that same was fine to go. The problem was what target!

At this point Guderian and several other commanders urged Hitler on a
policy of pushing straight on towards Moscow. Hitler over these
generals' protests ordered Army Group Center to divert the bulk of
its armor to the north and south to help the other two army groups,
thereby stopping the advance toward Moscow. Guderian in an attempt to
make Moscow the target disobeyed orders and intentionally allowed
himself into fighting at Roslavl. Hitler overruled Guderian. Obviously
Guderian thought the target should have been Kiev.

So most of this army goes south towards Kiev, closed a gigantic
encirclement east of Kiev that brought in 665,000 prisoners. Then come
back and drive towards Moscow. Took almost as many troops and comes
within 20 miles of Moscow before it is halted by stiff resistance and
bitter cold. The army did move and fought far further then an
encirclement on Moscow would have required.

The big issue with Stolfi's plan is that such an early assault would
have left intact four Russian armies facing weak German flanks. Maybe
Stalingrad a year early.
Post by stuart
Stuart Wilkes
--
--
bernardz
2005-08-24 04:52:01 UTC
Permalink
Post by bernardz
Obviously
Guderian thought the target should have been Kiev.
Oops in my message I should have said

Obviously Guderian thought the target should have been Moscow.


Let me further add he was very capable and on the spot.
--
David Thornley
2005-08-23 17:49:46 UTC
Permalink
Post by stuart
Post by bernardz
However if the German attack to cut off Moscow had proceeded say in mid
July or early August,
But the Germans weren't in any logistical condition to attack and cut
off Moscow in July or early August, despite Stolfi's ravings on the
subject. Nor was the infantry of Army Group Center. Both were on the
verge of exhaustion by then.
There was also some more or less effective action by the Red Army at
that time. The German advance didn't just stop by itself, but rather
hit resistance it couldn't overcome at first, and then was hit by
counterattacks that were unusually strong for 1941 Red Army operations.

The counterattacks were obviously not strong enough to prevent the
Germans from improving their position, bringing up supply, and resting
the infantry, and the resistance was obviously not strong enough to
hold up for long against a renewed German attack later, but they make
the idea of "on to Moscow" in the Summer at least questionable.


--
David H. Thornley | If you want my opinion, ask.
***@thornley.net | If you don't, flee.
http://www.thornley.net/~thornley/david/ | O-
--
Louis Capdeboscq
2005-08-23 17:49:22 UTC
Permalink
Post by bernardz
However if the German attack to cut off Moscow had proceeded say in mid
July or early August, it get more difficult to determine the outcome.
It would be very risky such an operation as the Germans would leave
their flanks very weak with little reserves. Once cut off wait for
Moscow to collapse. Logistically such an attack should be possible as
it would be less then the assault on Kiev that took place then.
I would like some more details regarding the last sentence, please.

As far as I can tell, "the assault on Kiev" was primarily conducted by
AGS which was supplied from the rail line going SE from Poland (through
Lvov etc), with help from Guderian's panzergruppe - itself supplied from
Smolensk, i.e. AGC, then from that and AGS.

By contrast, an assault on Moscow means all the logistics involved go
through Smolensk. Also, the distances involved are greater for an
encirclement as opposed to a frontal assault, and there will be no
moving toward another German supply source, rather the opposite in fact.

The good news is that I don't think that the flanks will be a problem,
as the Soviets were in no position to deliver an effective attack at the
time. It can be taken for granted that they will try to attack these
flanks, but regular German infantry moving toward the front should
handle these efforts without too much extra trouble.


LC
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bernardz
2005-08-24 04:52:06 UTC
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Post by Louis Capdeboscq
Post by bernardz
However if the German attack to cut off Moscow had proceeded say in mid
July or early August, it get more difficult to determine the outcome.
It would be very risky such an operation as the Germans would leave
their flanks very weak with little reserves. Once cut off wait for
Moscow to collapse. Logistically such an attack should be possible as
it would be less then the assault on Kiev that took place then.
I would like some more details regarding the last sentence, please.
As far as I can tell, "the assault on Kiev" was primarily conducted by
AGS which was supplied from the rail line going SE from Poland (through
Lvov etc), with help from Guderian's panzergruppe - itself supplied from
Smolensk, i.e. AGC, then from that and AGS.
By contrast, an assault on Moscow means all the logistics involved go
through Smolensk. Also, the distances involved are greater for an
encirclement as opposed to a frontal assault, and there will be no
moving toward another German supply source, rather the opposite in fact.
I think you overestimate the distances required. In the July the
Germans were 150 km from Moscow. Say they do an encirclement of 200 km.
We are talking of about 400 km more.

Three months later the same supply line was used by the Germans on a
much bigger assault on Moscow.
Post by Louis Capdeboscq
The good news is that I don't think that the flanks will be a problem,
as the Soviets were in no position to deliver an effective attack at the
time. It can be taken for granted that they will try to attack these
flanks, but regular German infantry moving toward the front should
handle these efforts without too much extra trouble.
I suspect that you are right but I thought that David M. Glantz in
"Barbarossa 1941" made some very good point about this. The German
right flank would be very exposed in such a POD. Also by going South,
the Germans managed to catch much of the Russian army off-balance.

--
Louis Capdeboscq
2005-09-02 19:04:24 UTC
Permalink
Post by bernardz
Post by Louis Capdeboscq
Logistically an attack [on Moscow in Aug 41] should be possible as
it would be less then the assault on Kiev that took place then.
I would like some more details regarding the last sentence, please.
As far as I can tell, "the assault on Kiev" was primarily conducted by
AGS which was supplied from the rail line going SE from Poland (through
Lvov etc), with help from Guderian's panzergruppe - itself supplied from
Smolensk, i.e. AGC, then from that and AGS.
By contrast, an assault on Moscow means all the logistics involved go
through Smolensk. Also, the distances involved are greater for an
encirclement as opposed to a frontal assault, and there will be no
moving toward another German supply source, rather the opposite in fact.
I think you overestimate the distances required. In the July the
Germans were 150 km from Moscow. Say they do an encirclement of 200 km.
We are talking of about 400 km more.
You are missing the point.

An army that has reached the end of its supply line cannot fight its way
much farther. 100km is too far, it makes no difference whether we're
talking of 100km or 1,000. Too far is too far.

The Allies were less than 150km from the Rhine in September 1944, yet
they failed to cross it.

My point was that just because the Germans eventually attacked toward
Moscow (and, incidentally, failed) for Typhoon it doesn't mean that they
could have in August.

Between July and late October, the Germans improved their supply line to
Smolensk, rested their units there and built up supplies (not enough,
but a small buildup is better than none). So AGC was not in the same
logistical situation at the time of Typhoon as it had been in August.
And just because Guderian drove to Kiev doesn't mean that he - let alone
all of AGC instead of just his one army - could have advanced the same
distance eastward, for the reasons I mentioned in the previous post
(quoted above).

Finally, as you noted Glantz says that the Kiev attack allowed the
Germans to catch the Soviets off-balance which a follow-up attack to
Moscow wouldn't have (on the other hand there would have been far less
many Soviet troops defending, so I'm not sure that this is a big advantage).
Post by bernardz
Three months later the same supply line was used by the Germans on a
much bigger assault on Moscow.
No, not the same supply line.

The Allies were stopped on the German border in late 1944, and a few
months later "the same supply line" put them all the way to Prague. It
doesn't work that way. Supply lines aren't static things, they can be
improved.

(snip the "outflank from the south" theme, because I personally don't
think that Kirponos was in a position to harm AGC and because the
logistics are what interest me here)


LC
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BernardZ
2005-09-04 21:05:06 UTC
Permalink
In article <dfa7no$jbp$***@gnus01.u.washington.edu>, ***@yahoo.com
says...
Post by Louis Capdeboscq
Post by bernardz
I think you overestimate the distances required. In the July the
Germans were 150 km from Moscow. Say they do an encirclement of 200 km.
We are talking of about 400 km more.
You are missing the point.
An army that has reached the end of its supply line cannot fight its way
much farther. 100km is too far, it makes no difference whether we're
talking of 100km or 1,000. Too far is too far.
A supply line is not the same as a dead end. You can stretch it out
somewhat.
Post by Louis Capdeboscq
The Allies were less than 150km from the Rhine in September 1944, yet
they failed to cross it.
Hitler West wall would be a more important reason although the shortages
of supplies did not help.
Post by Louis Capdeboscq
My point was that just because the Germans eventually attacked toward
Moscow (and, incidentally, failed) for Typhoon it doesn't mean that they
could have in August.
Yep.
Post by Louis Capdeboscq
Between July and late October, the Germans improved their supply line to
Smolensk, rested their units there and built up supplies (not enough,
but a small buildup is better than none). So AGC was not in the same
logistical situation at the time of Typhoon as it had been in August.
And just because Guderian drove to Kiev doesn't mean that he - let alone
all of AGC instead of just his one army - could have advanced the same
distance eastward, for the reasons I mentioned in the previous post
(quoted above).
I don't really see any dramatic signs of the Germans improving their
supply line to Smolensk in that period. Nor would it help much if it was
as the German supply major problem on the drive to Moscow was their
dependance on make-shift roads causing their men to advance in narrow
columns. This allowed the under manned Soviet forces to be in the
correct position against them. Added to this the mud and the cold
brought the German army to collapse in front of Moscow.

We can presume here in this POD that the make-shift roads would be
easier to construction, the mud is far less, the temperature warmer and
the number of troops to be supplied less.



--
Cub Driver
2005-09-05 18:00:57 UTC
Permalink
On Sun, 4 Sep 2005 21:05:06 +0000 (UTC), BernardZ
Post by Louis Capdeboscq
An army that has reached the end of its supply line cannot fight its way
much farther. 100km is too far, it makes no difference whether we're
talking of 100km or 1,000. Too far is too far.
The U.S. supply line in the Pacific Theater stretched for thousands of
miles. Indeed, the supply line to U.S. forces in China stretched for
much more than halfway around the world, via South American, Africa,
the Middle East, and the subcontinent of India, perhaps 15,000 miles.



-- all the best, Dan Ford

email ***@mailblocks.com (put Cubdriver in subject line)

Warbird's Forum: www.warbirdforum.com
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Michael Emrys
2005-09-06 02:54:45 UTC
Permalink
Post by Cub Driver
Post by Louis Capdeboscq
An army that has reached the end of its supply line cannot fight its way
much farther. 100km is too far, it makes no difference whether we're
talking of 100km or 1,000. Too far is too far.
The U.S. supply line in the Pacific Theater stretched for thousands of
miles. Indeed, the supply line to U.S. forces in China stretched for
much more than halfway around the world, via South American, Africa,
the Middle East, and the subcontinent of India, perhaps 15,000 miles.
But this overlooks a couple of points. One is that the US had the
*capability* of moving vast amounts of men and material thousands of miles
over multiple seas and continents. Germany did not.

Secondly, even in the case of the US, extending those supply lines did not
occur overnight. Just consider the time and engineering effort required to
open up the Persian Corridor for Lend-Lease. The Germans needed to
drastically improve their ability to move supplies forward and they needed
to accomplish that in a matter of weeks at the most. They didn't succeed and
it remains to be seen whether they even could have if they had been totally
focussed on the problem. And focus is one of the things lacking in that
campaign.

Michael
--
Andrew Clark
2005-09-06 16:58:11 UTC
Permalink
Post by Michael Emrys
But this overlooks a couple of points.
One is that the US had the *capability* of
moving vast amounts of men and material
thousands of miles over multiple seas
and continents.
Actually, the US Army was heavily dependent on British and
British-controlled troop ships throughout WW2, and heavily
dependent on British and British-controlled merchant
shipping until 1944. Just as the British were, in turn,
dependent on US-supplied or controlled transport aircraft.

--
Michele Armellini
2005-09-06 16:58:15 UTC
Permalink
Post by Cub Driver
On Sun, 4 Sep 2005 21:05:06 +0000 (UTC), BernardZ
Post by Louis Capdeboscq
An army that has reached the end of its supply line cannot fight its way
much farther. 100km is too far, it makes no difference whether we're
talking of 100km or 1,000. Too far is too far.
The U.S. supply line in the Pacific Theater stretched for thousands of
miles. Indeed, the supply line to U.S. forces in China stretched for
much more than halfway around the world, via South American, Africa,
the Middle East, and the subcontinent of India, perhaps 15,000 miles.
Sure. Loading a ship and sending it across the seas is easier than shipping
the same load overland, be it by train, truck or camel back. This is not
exactly news.
--
Louis Capdeboscq
2005-09-06 16:58:03 UTC
Permalink
Post by BernardZ
A supply line is not the same as a dead end. You can stretch it out
somewhat.
...which is how the Germans managed to fight around Smolensk in the
first place. By "stretching their supply line out somewhat". I'm arguing
that going for Moscow instead of Kiev and in army group strength was not
logistically possible, it would be overstretch if you want.
Post by BernardZ
Post by Louis Capdeboscq
The Allies were less than 150km from the Rhine in September 1944, yet
they failed to cross it.
Hitler West wall would be a more important reason although the shortages
of supplies did not help.
The Westwall wasn't even reached in most of the points where the pursuit
ended. Most of the Allied divisions had stopped moving well short of the
Westwall before the pursuit stopped. Logistics.
Post by BernardZ
I don't really see any dramatic signs of the Germans improving their
supply line to Smolensk in that period.
Who said "dramatic" ? They did improve it.
Post by BernardZ
Nor would it help much if it was
as the German supply major problem on the drive to Moscow was their
dependance on make-shift roads causing their men to advance in narrow
columns. This allowed the under manned Soviet forces to be in the
correct position against them. Added to this the mud and the cold
brought the German army to collapse in front of Moscow.
Historically, Typhoon was conducted in a way that outflanked the Soviet
defenses, thanks to the Kiev operation. The projected "Moscow and not
Kiev" attack means a frontal attack against weaker Soviet defenses than
were available at the time of Typhoon.
Post by BernardZ
We can presume here in this POD that the make-shift roads would be
easier to construction, the mud is far less, the temperature warmer and
the number of troops to be supplied less.
Look at the North African theater. Very little mud, yet distance was a
problem.



LC
--
Remove "e" from address to reply
--
bernardz
2005-09-07 16:05:40 UTC
Permalink
<snip>
Post by Louis Capdeboscq
...which is how the Germans managed to fight around Smolensk in the
first place. By "stretching their supply line out somewhat". I'm arguing
that going for Moscow instead of Kiev and in army group strength was not
logistically possible, it would be overstretch if you want.
This is what you still need to prove!
Post by Louis Capdeboscq
Post by BernardZ
Post by Louis Capdeboscq
The Allies were less than 150km from the Rhine in September 1944, yet
they failed to cross it.
Hitler West wall would be a more important reason although the shortages
of supplies did not help.
The Westwall wasn't even reached in most of the points where the pursuit
ended. Most of the Allied divisions had stopped moving well short of the
Westwall before the pursuit stopped. Logistics.
Logistics were certainly an issue but if the Westwall had magically
disappeared the Allies could have advanced into the Rhine.
Post by Louis Capdeboscq
Post by BernardZ
I don't really see any dramatic signs of the Germans improving their
supply line to Smolensk in that period.
Who said "dramatic" ? They did improve it.
How much did they improve it and in what way, please specify! From what
I can see almost everything was diverted to campaigns - North and South
and back again.
Post by Louis Capdeboscq
Post by BernardZ
Nor would it help much if it was
as the German supply major problem on the drive to Moscow was their
dependance on make-shift roads causing their men to advance in narrow
columns. This allowed the under manned Soviet forces to be in the
correct position against them. Added to this the mud and the cold
brought the German army to collapse in front of Moscow.
Historically, Typhoon was conducted in a way that outflanked the Soviet
defenses, thanks to the Kiev operation. The projected "Moscow and not
Kiev" attack means a frontal attack against weaker Soviet defenses than
were available at the time of Typhoon.
The only thing I would disagree with here is that its not a frontal
assault but encirclement of Moscow.

What still does disturb me about this plan is that the assault on
Moscow the Russians would have large forces on the German flanks! If
the Germans do not take Moscow they are in real trouble come Winter.
Post by Louis Capdeboscq
Post by BernardZ
We can presume here in this POD that the make-shift roads would be
easier to construction, the mud is far less, the temperature warmer and
the number of troops to be supplied less.
Look at the North African theater. Very little mud, yet distance was a
problem.
I don't see the problem as what the Germans proved in North Africa is
that they could operate almost 1000 kilometers ahead of their supply
line.
--
Geoffrey Sinclair
2005-09-09 16:06:28 UTC
Permalink
bernardz wrote in message ...
Post by stuart
<snip>
Post by Louis Capdeboscq
...which is how the Germans managed to fight around Smolensk in the
first place. By "stretching their supply line out somewhat". I'm arguing
that going for Moscow instead of Kiev and in army group strength was not
logistically possible, it would be overstretch if you want.
This is what you still need to prove!
Given the standard of proof being asked for I really doubt the
standard of proof considered acceptable.

After the capture of Smolensk Army Group Centre stayed on the
defensive until October, apart from 1 of its 4 armies. The supply
requirements for continued attack were higher than for defence.
The army group even gave up a Panzer corps, for a short while,
to Army Group North.

When the Army Group resumed offensive operations it was after
around 2 months work on its supply lines.
Post by stuart
Post by Louis Capdeboscq
Post by BernardZ
Post by Louis Capdeboscq
The Allies were less than 150km from the Rhine in September 1944, yet
they failed to cross it.
Hitler West wall would be a more important reason although the shortages
of supplies did not help.
The Westwall wasn't even reached in most of the points where the pursuit
ended. Most of the Allied divisions had stopped moving well short of the
Westwall before the pursuit stopped. Logistics.
Logistics were certainly an issue but if the Westwall had magically
disappeared the Allies could have advanced into the Rhine.
This ignores a fundamental point that the French German border had
been determined by centuries of war, it was a good defensive line.
There is usually a solid geographic reason for a sudden shift in
language and culture, as between France and Germany.

Also the Germans had options to lose terrain in the east and south
in order to stop the allies short of the Rhine. The Germans really
wanted to stop them short of the Rhine given how much of the Ruhr
would be knocked out or severely hampered with the allies on the
west bank.

Simply waving away the west wall ignores things like the allied
supply situation, both in arrivals in France and deliveries to the
front.
Post by stuart
Post by Louis Capdeboscq
Post by BernardZ
I don't really see any dramatic signs of the Germans improving their
supply line to Smolensk in that period.
Who said "dramatic" ? They did improve it.
How much did they improve it and in what way, please specify! From what
I can see almost everything was diverted to campaigns - North and South
and back again.
The Germans were working on all the supply lines. The difference
between July and October 1941 was around 2 months more work
on the supply system. Of course it improved.

The halt by Army Group Centre meant the dumps could be built up
in the front line and not be left behind after say another week of fighting.

The halt meant armies could begin to refit and consume fewer fuel
supplies at least.

The Germans took Smolensk in mid July 1941, and then largely stopped
moving forwards.

In the second week of July the forward rail links only carried supplies
for 3rd Panzergruppe, the 9th Army had to haul its supplies from the
rear. As of 13 July the supply situation meant the advance would have
to halt at Smolensk and the bulk of the infantry stay further back.

In the first half of August the Germans were able to run 18 trains a day
for Army Group Centre, when it wanted 30 to stay where it was and
build up for the next attack. With the rail gauge changed as far as
Smolensk in mid August the number of trains increased but never to
the 30 per day mark.

Meantime one panzer corps was sent to help Army Group North and
truck supply units sent to help Army Group South. Then 2nd
Panzergruppe was sent south.

As of late August the Germans had a rail head at Gomel and it was this
that supplied Guderian, at the expense of 2nd Army. Stockpiling was
possible in 2nd Army area after mid September 1941.

As of 14 September 9th Army stated it did not have the transport to
support the coming operations.

Army Group stockpiling was interrupted for 8 days due to floods,
resuming on 21 September. The stocks were built up by forcing
the troops to live off the land when it came to food. Meantime the
panzer forces that had been detached had returned and the 4th
Panzergruppe had been added to the Army Group.

By the time the Germans resumed the attack the rail supply service
was working to enable a build up of supplies. Something not
possible in August.


(snip)
Post by stuart
Post by Louis Capdeboscq
Look at the North African theater. Very little mud, yet distance was a
problem.
I don't see the problem as what the Germans proved in North Africa is
that they could operate almost 1000 kilometers ahead of their supply
line.
Simple really, the allies could do the same thing in North Africa,
and it is around 1,000 km from Normandy to Berlin. So the
allies in September 1944 could have driven straight to Berlin
using the above logic. And if the Germans could have done the
same thing in the east they would have driven straight to Rostov
or even Stalingrad and so on.

I am quite sure DAK, at its 1942 strength, would have been in
real trouble 1,000 km from it supply lines on the eastern front.

Geoffrey Sinclair
Remove the nb for email.
--
Louis Capdeboscq
2005-09-09 16:06:29 UTC
Permalink
Post by stuart
<snip>
Post by Louis Capdeboscq
...which is how the Germans managed to fight around Smolensk in the
first place. By "stretching their supply line out somewhat". I'm
arguing that going for Moscow instead of Kiev and in army group
strength was not logistically possible, it would be overstretch if
you want.
This is what you still need to prove!
No.

Let me remind you of how this discussion started.

You wrote (capitals are mine): "However if the German attack to cut off
Moscow had proceeded say in mid July or early August, it get more
difficult to determine the outcome. It would be very risky such an
operation as the Germans would leave their flanks very weak with little
reserves. Once cut off wait for Moscow to collapse. LOGISTICALLY SUCH AN
ATTACK SHOULD BE POSSIBLE AS IT WOULD BE LESS THEN THE ASSAULT ON KIEV
THAT TOOK PLACE THEN."

The message is here:
http://groups.google.fr/group/soc.history.war.world-war-ii/msg/cab8309e0cbc013e

Then I asked for details in this message:
http://groups.google.fr/group/soc.history.war.world-war-ii/msg/473b8a3159a37722

So what happened was that you made a claim - that the attack was
logistically possible - and I asked you to support that claim. Now, in
what is becoming a really bad habit on this newsgroup, the person making
an unsubstantiated claim is asking those contradicting him to do his
homework by asking "prove it ain't so".

My arguments were already laid out in the previous message. In summary,
they go like this:

1. The attack on Kiev was made by a single army. The attack on Moscow
would have to be made at army-group strength, so just because Guderian
could be supplied doesn't mean that AGC could have been.

2. When Guderian attacked Kiev, he didn't extend his supply lines all
the way because in the Kiev area he could be (and was) partly supplied
by AGS. There was no friendly logistical network for the Germans in the
Moscow area that could similarly pick up the slack.

3. When Typhoon was eventually launched, it used both logistical
networks (instead of AGC alone as would be the case in July/August) and
these had used the time to improve their capacity *and* accumulate
stockpiles. In July-August, there was the one supply network, no
supplies had been stockpiled and as the network was unimproved its
capacity (call it the size of the pipeline) was smaller than it would
become for Typhoon anyway.

But I don't "need" to prove anything because I'm not the one who claimed
that Guderian's advance to Kiev showed that AGC could have advanced to
Moscow.
Post by stuart
Post by Louis Capdeboscq
Post by BernardZ
Post by Louis Capdeboscq
The Allies were less than 150km from the Rhine in September 1944,
yet they failed to cross it.
Hitler West wall would be a more important reason although the shortages
of supplies did not help.
The Westwall wasn't even reached in most of the points where the
pursuit ended. Most of the Allied divisions had stopped moving well
short of the Westwall before the pursuit stopped. Logistics.
Logistics were certainly an issue but if the Westwall had magically
disappeared the Allies could have advanced into the Rhine.
I would agree if you substituted "the Wehrmacht" for "the Westwall".
Unfortunately, the Red Army hadn't disappeared in July-August 1941 so
I'm not sure what this says.
Post by stuart
Post by Louis Capdeboscq
Post by BernardZ
I don't really see any dramatic signs of the Germans improving
their supply line to Smolensk in that period.
Who said "dramatic" ? They did improve it.
How much did they improve it and in what way, please specify! From
what I can see almost everything was diverted to campaigns - North and
South and back again.
"almost everything" only from an operational point of view. Units, not
supplies.

As to the "in what way", things like repairing more rails and
installations which allowed for more traffic capacity, building up
warehouses, that kind of things.

For more information, try the following sources:
Klaus Schüler: Logistik im Russlandfeldzug,
Klaus Reinhardt: Die Wende for Moskau,
Andreas Hillgruber: Die Bedeutung der Schlacht von Smolensk in der
zweiten Juli-Hälfte 1941 für den Ausgang des Ostkrieges

Schueler in particular is very interesting, and it's a shame that
self-serving memoirs of German generals are getting new translations
that add practically nothing to our understanding of history while there
are fine German-language books that are left out of the English-language
historiography (we're talking about books written in the 1970's, here
!). It took 10 years to have Frieser's book about Fall Gelb in
translation, and the English-langauge translation "Germany in the Second
World Price" published by OUP is way overpriced. Anyway, I'll end my
rant here as discussing fine German scholarship is not the topic of this
thread.
Post by stuart
Post by Louis Capdeboscq
Post by BernardZ
We can presume here in this POD that the make-shift roads would be
easier to construction, the mud is far less, the temperature
warmer and the number of troops to be supplied less.
Look at the North African theater. Very little mud, yet distance was
a problem.
I don't see the problem as what the Germans proved in North Africa is
that they could operate almost 1000 kilometers ahead of their supply
line.
Well, we certainly disagree about this as well.

LC
--
Remove "e" from address to reply

--
Michele Armellini
2005-08-22 19:27:56 UTC
Permalink
Post by BernardZ
says...
Post by stuart
Post by y***@hotmail.com
and this could
have decisively the outcome of the war in the East.
Historically, by the time the Germans approached Moscow, the were down
to infantry company strengths of 50-60, reflecting ~75% infantry
losses. City fighting is a somewhat infantry-intensive activity, so
having that little infantry left to do it makes success doubtful.
The German plan was to surround Moscow and cut it off. Then wait till
the city collapsed. Generally this sort of plan worked against Russian
cities although in one notable case in Leningrad it failed.
And in the case of Stalingrad they were unable to complete the encirclement.
The Axis took Odessa at such a cost that it could be argued it wasn't worth
the price. In other words, it did happen that the Soviets held on to cities
they wanted to keep, or that they could make an enemy victory Pyrrhic.

Besides, gaining a small foothold in some Western suburb of Moscow requires
a significant German effort; but completely surrounding this sprawling city
requires a much, much greater effort. More troops; more logistics. I really
doubt this could be done by December. If it was done, then the Siberian
reinforcements that historically were deployed in front of Moscow would
quite easily rupture the ring in two points, North and South of the city,
surrounding the surrounders.



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